Asians for Black Lives protest in Los Angeles
An Asians for Black Lives protest in downtown Los Angeles. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Asian Americans in California have reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment in the last three months as the coronavirus stoked racial tension, according to a summary by the coalition Stop AAPI Hate.

The incidents listed in the study released last week were self-reported and included 81 assaults and 64 potential civil rights violations.

Discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans in California drew national attention recently after a series of videos in Torrance featured a woman using graphic racist language. And fears have also been stoked by President Trump’s repeated use of the term “Kung Flu” in recent rallies.

“The viral video of racism in Torrance is one example of hundreds. It’s the tip of the iceberg of anti-Asian American hate and discrimination,” said Russell Jeung, chair and professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.

Stop AAPI Hate has asked California to establish a racial bias strike team to investigate coronavirus-related hate and determine the most effective policies to address the problem.

“We have presented Governor Newsom with clear and effective tactics to combat discrimination and harassment of Asian Americans,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council. “Asian Americans need to see concrete actions and we’re here to work with the state to ensure that we can live free from racial discrimination and enjoy equal rights and access.”

The new report shows that incidents of racism and discrimination are not isolated to any particular area but are a statewide problem, with incidents reported in 34 counties so far. Among the examples cited in the report are:

  • “A man kicked my dog and told me to shut my dog up and then spat at me, saying ‘Take your disease that’s ruining our country and go home,’” reported an Asian American in Santa Clara.
  • In San Francisco, an Asian American reported, “Someone threw a glass bottle at my friend while she was putting her baby in the car and yelled, ‘Go home, chink.’”
  • In Speckels, an Asian American reported, “Some young men came by in a white pickup, slowed down and one of them yelled, ‘Hey Ch–k! Take your virus and go back where you came from!’”

The Stop AAPI Hate reporting center was established by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.